Gluten Intolerance in India
Authors: Raghuveer Singh, Navish Kumar Kamboj, Pradeep Kumar and Raman Sharma

Gluten intolerance an abdominal disease caused by the consuming gluten rich food items (prepared by wheat, barley and rye) by the sensitive people. It is very strange for us to accept that allergy also caused by food itself. Many researchers try to find out root cause behind it but in general it’s accepted in a medical lines that if you are eating a nontraditional food, chances increase of allergy because your genetic map not suit or match with foods. In simple word we can say that you are eating a totally different food which your father eats from generation after generation. It’s also supported by the finding that GS is more prevailing in North India as compare to South India and western African countries have GS problem as high that up to one twentieth population facing it (Catassi et al., 1999; Ramakrishna, 2011). Root cause behind it that we replaced traditional food (pear millet, sorghum and millets) with wheat (Yadav, 2017) In the south India people are consuming rice as stable food but in northen India earlier people are not consuming wheat they are depended on other food item like as pear millet, sorghum and millets.

Prevalence of gluten intolerance in India

Due to the protein (gluten) present in the wheat, rye and barley some people face problem by it and leads to damage in small intestine which known as celiac disease in medical lines and doctor recommend such patient to take other food in place of wheat consumption. Celiac disease is a well defined disease where the body’s immune system attacks itself when gluten consumed by the sensitive person. This cause damage the lining of the gut that why our body can’t absorb the nutrient properly. Still in medical line not decided that celiac disease and gluten intolerance are same or totally different but in general in literature both are taken as synonymously or associated disorders. It prevails in northern India since 1960s (Walia et al., 1966). Study reflected that one person reported as celiac patient out of 310 individual and same medical study reported up to 1 per cent. South India not reported celiac disease as there staple food is rice. Most case reported about CD in India from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (Yachha and Poddar, 2007)

Early signal of gluten intolerance

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea, constipation and smelly feces
  • Headaches
  • Skin problems
  • Feeling tired
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Brain fog
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Leg or arm numbness
Gluten intolerant patient diet

  • In place of wheat take other foods (rice, pear millet, maize, sorghum, dal, vegetables, milk and non vegetarian food) to fulfill nutritional requirement of body
  • Avoid the foods in which wheat, barley and rye used in any form at any stage
  • Use the home made item to insure no contamination gluten
  • Avoid suspicious foods containing wheat/barley
Management of gluten intolerance

In India still very low awareness among public about the gluten intolerance government can educate people about it through awareness campaign and advertisement trough electronic media. Government should changes it policies so farmer grow the balance foods crops in place of mono cropping because after independence due to the government policies (minimum support price (MSP), Public distribution system (PDS) and procurement mechanism) little bit biased towards the rice wheat in place of balanced approach. If farmers grow diverse food crops at their farm definitely over dependency on wheat get reduced which decrease the chances gluten insensitivity


Gluten intolerance not a big issue for government in comparison to other health problem but we should teach and make aware to our public about benefit of diverse foods item in place of over dependency on the wheat. It’s not advisable to stay on single crop better your policy that farmer grow and consume diverse crops.


1. Catassi, C., Rätsch, I.M., Gandolfi, L., Pratesi, R., Fabiani, E., Asmar, R., Frijia, M., Bearzi, I., and Vizzoni, L. (1999). Why is coeliac disease endemic in the people of the Sahara? The Lancet. 354:647-8.

2. Ramakrishna, B.S. (2011) Celiac disease: can we avert the impending epidemic in India? Indian journal of medical research 133(1): 5-8.

3. Walia, B.N., Sidhu, J.K., Tandon, B.N., Ghai, O.P., and Bhargava, S. (1966). Coeliac disease in North Indian children. Br Med J. 2:1233-4.

4. Yachha S K and Poddar U. (2007). celiac disease in India, Indian Journal of Gastroenterology 26

5. Yadav, Y. (2017). Going against the grain Wheat cultivation has taken focus away from the traditional bajra. The tribune, October 25, 2017, Accessed on 25 October 2017

About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as a scientist at ICAR-IIFSR, Modipuram, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India.